Jigglypuff, (プリン, Purin), is an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee from the Pokémon series, making a return from the first Super Smash Bros game. Jigglypuff retains most of its moves from Smash 64, though with some modifications.
Jigglypuff is in the S tier at 2nd place on the Melee tier list, a significant improvement from its 6/12 position on the previous game's tier list, and its best rank in the series. Jigglypuff's jump on the tier list is due to its incredible recovery, an extremely dangerous edgeguarding technique in the wall of pain, a powerful KO move that can easily be comboed into thanks to Rest, and an overall great aerial game and developed metagame. Its floatiness also makes it the only character in the top tier who cannot be easily comboed or chaingrabbed, which is also aided by its small size, which allows Jigglypuff to avoid most KO setups that most other characters would fall vulnerable to. Regardless, Jigglypuff still has problems. It is light and floaty, making it easier to KO with stray moves or certain low percentage setups than other characters. Jigglypuff's options on the ground are also limited, because of its poor range and a lack of a projectile. It also has a slow walking speed and dashing speed. Compounded with a poor dash dance, Jigglypuff's neutral game, which is largely committal, is not as good as that of other top-tiered characters; instead, it relies on its lethal punishes, edgeguards, and aerial mobility to succeed. Recent developments in the Melee metagame have also worsened Jigglypuff's matchups against other top-tier characters, such as Fox, Marth, and Falco. Despite this, Jigglypuff still has an amazing number of winning matchups, with Fox being the only character in the game it loses to, plus it has even matchups with only three other characters.
Jigglypuff is, in general, a character of extremes. It has the slowest dash speed (tied with Zelda), the fastest air speed, the second lightest weight (along with Mr. Game & Watch), and the slowest falling speed. All of these properties gives Jigglypuff among the most unusual, but versatile, approaches in the game.
Owing to its unusual properties, Jigglypuff is among the hardest characters to combo in the cast. Jigglypuff's light weight and floatiness make it insusceptible to the majority of extended combos, such as zero-to-death combos and chaingrabs; after only a few hits, Jigglypuff will already be sent too far to chase down before the hitstun wears off, without the gravity needed to pull it back down to continue the combo. Despite Jigglypuff's weight and floatiness theoretically making it easier to KO than most of the cast, especially off the top of the stage, the great difficulty most characters have with comboing Jigglypuff allows it to survive disproportionately longer than other members of its weight class. Players who have good DI and SDI skills, and the awareness to apply them to stray hits, can stretch out its stocks to extremely high percentages. This forces opponents to find KOs at very specific percentage ranges as soon as the opportunity arises to actually be able to take advantage of Jigglypuff's weight.
However, such KO setups can be very difficult to find, as Jigglypuff's small frame and short crouch allow it to duck under many hitboxes that would usually be reliable combo starters on other characters, such as several characters' standing grabs. Its fast air speed and floatiness allow it to weave away from improperly spaced attacks, and its powerful aerials, particularly its disjointed back aerial, can stuff out most characters' approaches. These properties make it difficult for characters such as Sheik, Marth, and Captain Falcon to get the KO setups that allow them to succeed in other matchups. Top-level analytics show that Jigglypuff tends to sustain twice as much damage against other characters over the course of a set despite its light weight and floatiness, and rarely gets gimped at very low percentages, unlike most other top-tiered characters.
On the other hand, however, Jigglypuff possesses outstanding combo ability itself; with high hitstun, low knockback aerials, good tilts, and strong throws, Jigglypuff has plenty of ways to start and continue combos against almost any other character in the game, regardless of the opponent's characteristics. Jigglypuff also possesses KO setups of its own, including the space animal slayer, which almost guarantees a KO against some fast fallers in the game. Jigglypuff also has incredible power in some of its attacks; its smash attacks, particularly forward smash, can KO at realistic percentages. Jigglypuff's most powerful attack, however, is Rest. Among the most feared attacks in the game, Rest is an attack of extremes, with no starting lag (hitting on the very first frame), extreme ending lag, and incredible power, easily KOing characters at percentages as low as 25%. All of these powerful moves can be comboed into or used in tech chasing, giving them significant utility.
Due to its characteristics and recovery prowess, Jigglypuff is also among the most dangerous edgeguarders in the game. It possesses several ways to set up an edgeguard, including its down smash and back throw; once offstage, Jigglypuff can finish the opponent with its quick and powerful aerials that are easily able to disrupt most recoveries off-stage, and the aforementioned high-power moves such as Rest that heavily punish improper recoveries done onto the stage. Jigglypuff's Wall of Pain is a particularly lethal method of edgeguarding, as it is an off-stage combo that can guarantee KOs on characters with poor recoveries, such as Falco and Roy, if done properly. Jigglypuff's edgeguarding is also much more flexible compared to other characters', due to its superior aerial drift, as it can easily cover both on- and off-stage options while other strong edgeguarding characters cannot. These strengths make Jigglypuff arguably the strongest edgeguarder in the game. On the flip side, Jigglypuff's own recovery is also considered to be the best in the game; with five midair jumps, the lowest falling speed, and the highest air speed, Jigglypuff can recover from nearly any situation, as Pound, with its Rising Pound capabilities, gives Jigglypuff almost infinite vertical and horizontal distance. Its ability to weave in and out of enemy aerials, as well as its nearly unmatched number of jumps, make Jigglypuff extremely difficult to edgeguard.
However, for all of its significant strengths, Jigglypuff's ground approach is among the worst of the top-tiered characters'. It has a short wavedash, the slowest dash in the game (alongside Zelda), and an average grab range, forcing Jigglypuff to stay in the air to attack and combo well. Additionally, Jigglypuff's shield delivers 300 points of vertical knockback to Jigglypuff when broken (by comparison, the typical smash attack at roughly 100% percentage deals about 165 to 195 points of knockback) and instantaneously KOs it on all tournament-legal stages, giving it another defensive disadvantage when grounded. Despite having almost unparalleled approach in the air, being in the air can be an inherent defensive disadvantage, as Jigglypuff lacks access to grounded defensive options such as shielding and dodging, forcing Jigglypuff to play patiently and wait for opponents to overextend most of the time.
Because of this, Jigglypuff's neutral game is considered to be lackluster among the top tiers. Not only is it forced to play an aerial spacing game, but it also lacks effective lingering hitboxes. Jigglypuff's neutral and forward aerials lose power quickly, and can be crouch canceled up to medium percentages. The weak hitboxes are thus only useful for interrupting recoveries, and can be easily punished if improperly spaced. To mitigate this weakness, Jigglypuff must make use of its unmatched aerial drift to create openings and space perfectly around its opponents, which, while not impossible to do at high-level play, nonetheless requires developing a very unique skillset not shared by other characters, including a strong mental game. Jigglypuff also lacks a projectile of any type; unlike other characters, such as Marth, Jigglypuff also cannot negate projectiles easily, though its short crouch can mitigate this slightly. This makes Jigglypuff susceptible to being locked down or zoned out by projectile users, such as Falco and Young Link.
Overall, Jigglypuff has polarizing strengths and weaknesses. Jigglypuff has one of the most potent punish games out of all characters, yet is immune to most other characters' punishes; additionally, it cannot easily be edgeguarded, but is an extremely strong edgeguarder itself. On the other hand, Jigglypuff is KOed easily from stray hits unlike other characters, and struggles to approach enemies due to its decidedly below-average neutral game, making it difficult to get openings in competitive play. Skilled players should take into account these weaknesses, using clever baits and capitalizing on opponents' mistakes to attain superior positions where Jigglypuff can disrupt the opponent's plan and secure KOs that cannot easily be escaped from.
Jigglypuff has one of the most positive matchup spreads in the game, though it hard counters fewer low-tier characters than most of the other top-tiers. It is soft countered by one character, has even matchups with three, soft counters nine, counters ten, and hard counters two.
Jigglypuff generally has an advantage against characters with:
poor or telegraphed recovery options, such as Sheik, Donkey Kong, and Mario, as it can easily carry them off-stage or punish them landing on-stage with Rest;
a reliance on an aerial game that is not as good as Jigglypuff's, such as Peach, since it is able to beat those characters at their own game;
and/or no reliable KO setups against it due to its low crouch, light weight, and floatiness, such as Pikachu.
On the other hand, Jigglypuff has more trouble against characters who are able to space it out and restrict its movement with projectiles, such as Falco and Young Link, or have KO setups on Jigglypuff despite its strong defensive capabilities, such as Fox, Marth, and Captain Falcon. Since the matchup chart's creation in 2010, the matchups that have developed the most out of these are arguably:
Fox - Due to the increase of skill among Fox professionals and better understanding of Jigglypuff's weaknesses, Fox has seen much better results against Jigglypuff in the modern metagame. However, top Jigglypuff players have shown that it still has a strong chance in the matchup; proper DI and SDI can ensure that Jigglypuff does not lose stocks as early as once thought, and it still boasts superior aerial drift, powerful aerials, and arguably easier punish and edgeguard games against Fox. Thus, whether Fox soft or hard counters Jigglypuff is still debatable, with a few players even claiming that the matchup is close to even.
Marth - Marth is also now considered to have an even, or only slightly losing (at worst) matchup against Jigglypuff; Marth professionals such as PewPewU and Zain have shown that Marth can heavily punish Jigglypuff after a grab, utilizing pivoting to land guaranteed tipper forward smashes to KO it, while pushing their space advantage in the neutral game much more than before. Many edgeguarding tricks that Jigglypuff professionals utilized against Marth in the past also no longer work as well.
Captain Falcon - Wizzrobe has defeated top Jigglypuff professionals several times, utilizing a much more conservative playstyle that abuses Captain Falcon's speed to avoid Jigglypuff's threat zone. While the matchup is still winning for Jigglypuff, it is much closer than originally perceived.
Despite these flaws and metagame advancements against it, Jigglypuff's amazing strengths maintain its positive matchups against almost all of the cast, with the current consensus still being that it only has one losing matchup against Fox. Thus, Jigglypuff has one of the strongest matchup spreads in the game.